A short video about an alternator became an unlikely online hit for Polish automotive group AS-PL. Group president Danuta Kaszubowska explains how it came about.
YouTube sensations normally involve pop stars – or cats on waterskis. You would not bet on a Polish automotive group with a thriving remanufacturing arm capturing the imagination of the online community. Formed in 1992, AS-PL’s activities include alternator and starter reman – not something that usually sets the pulse racing (outside of the pages of ReMaTecNews, at any rate). But ‘Alternator Love Story’ did just that: with nearly 10,000 likes and more than 6,000 shares in its first 48 hours, the funny, four-minute story of an owner’s love for his vehicle caught the imagination. As a result, Gdańsk-based automotive company AS-PL’s expectations for its promotional film were well and truly exceeded.
“When we decided to record an ad, we also wanted to give the writers full creative freedom,” explains Danuta Kaszubowska, president of the group’s management board. “There was one main condition that we set Wytwórnia Filmów Kalina studio from Gdańsk: the video had to refer to the history of AS-PL. We also wanted something funny, non-standard.” With its mix of comedy and sentimentality – taking in lederhosen, skinheads and a low-speed chase on a child’s bicycle - the video is undeniably that. “The studio presented a couple of their ideas,” Kaszubowska goes on. “We decided we wanted a video which focused on the emotions of the viewer, rather than on the product itself, the alternator. The final version is a film with a great cast which tells a story about sentimental love for a car. The adventures of the protagonists intertwine with retrospectives from the middle of the 1990s. We did not anticipate the huge popularity of the video on the internet. I think that the AS brand will be remembered by the audience. So, this is a success for us. Time will tell whether this will translate into a business success.”
Reman is a “crucial element of our business”, Kaszubowska continues. “We install approximately 10,000 regenerated parts monthly. We focus on high quality standards and the durability of products.” Keen on expansion, in 2016 the firm opened a manufacturing facility in Lubichowo, near Starogard Gdański, with new production lines and a 5,000 m² warehouse, equipped with testing equipment from Canadian specialist D&V Electronics and Motoplat from the Netherlands. “Our goal is to supply reliable products customised to the present market needs with the use of modern technologies,” she says. AS-PL is solely owned by Polish shareholders and has more than 200 staff. The company offers more than 15,000 products, corresponding to nearly 200,000 reference numbers, and includes parts and components for cars, trucks, farming machinery, vessels and motorcycles. “I have to say, however, that our road to success was not a bed of roses,” she concludes. “It required the founders and employees to demonstrate huge determination in overcoming obstacles and problems, as well as audacity.” Kaszubowska herself seems to embody these qualities. Recently named among the 100 most enterprising women in Poland, she sets out her thoughts below on how the role of women is changing in business in general – and automotive reman in particular.